Buying new shoes for children can become quite burdensome for various reasons. Young children dislike taking time to try on pair after pair of shoes. Their feet tend to spread while young and can be hard to fit. And kids often take off their footwear at home, making it take longer for their feet to get adjusted to the feel of new shoes.
If your child will need new shoes soon, here are some things to keep in mind that may make your venture less of a strain on both you and your child.
- No matter your children’s ages, take them shopping when they are fresh and lively, not when they’re tired and bored. Either way you may have trouble getting them to focus on the task at hand, but if they’re alert, at least they may find some interest in helping to choose a style or finding a comfortable fit. Many pediatricians do not recommend fitting children under a year old with shoes for everyday wear. Letting them go barefoot, except for dress or public occasions, helps to develop solid food muscles. Check with your family doctor for guidance.
- Shop at stores the kids enjoy when possible. Some shoe outlets create a kid-friendly environment with balloons, a clown, or other fun elements. Make your outing something the kids will look forward to. If you don’t have a store like that in your area, think about offering the kids a treat, like ice cream, following the successful footwear expedition. This may help to ensure a cooperative attitude.
- Work with the kids to pick out a style both you and they feel is acceptable. Consider color, design, theme (if any), and purpose when you make a selection. If your children insist on an inappropriate choice, remind them of these criteria:
Your school doesn’t allow slip-on shoes.
Neon purple will make you stand out. Is that what you want?
- Check and double-check the fit. Have the kids’ feet sized by the measuring stick at the store. Then be sure they try on both shoes of a pair for proper fit. Look at where the toe meets the tip of the shoe, and the width across the large toe joint to the small toe joint. If your child can lift a foot out of an unfastened shoe, the size is probably too large. But if the shoe feels snug and pinches, you may need to go a half-size larger. Ask kids to walk around the store to see how the shoes feel while in motion.
- Ask the sales attendant about the best kind of socks or stockings to wear with the shoes. You also may want to inquire about a non-skid sole, any product warranty or guarantee, how to clean and maintain the shoes, and where to buy the appropriate cleaning supplies, along with laces if applicable. If the shoes will be worn infrequently, ask for storage tips.
Buying footwear can be done quickly and without much thought. But resulting in blisters, calluses, and your children’s refusal to wear them may be the result. Take time to plan out the expedition with forethought and your children’s cooperation to ensure the best possible outcome for all involved.